Junior partners tread carefully..

With Taoiseach Bertie Ahern trading trans-continental insults with the leaders of Fine Gael and the Labour Party his junior partners in government have been getting jumpy. The PD’s Noel Grealish might have thought he was doing the Taoiseach a favour by criticising the Mahon Tribunal – and, after all, he was just repeating what Ahern had said himself – but the Mahon Tribunal is the departmental responsibility of another junior partner, and the Green Party’s John Gormley, as Minister for the Environment, has stated that “he believes the Government has total confidence in it.” Meanwhile other government ministers are complaining of “cheap political shots” and Noel Grealish’s only party colleague in the Dáil, Health Minister Mary Harney, has added that she has full confidence in the Mahon Tribunal.